THIEVES scaled a 40ft ladder to steal more than 130 designer handbags thought to be worth as much as £60,000.
The handbags by Jimmy Choo, Hermes and others, each worth up to £750, were taken in a raid on an upmarket store in Edinburgh’s wealthy New Town.
The most expensive item is a Hermes Vintage Classic 1954 handbag worth £750 and described by the devastated owner as “extremely rare”.
The raiders targeted Handbag Heaven in a carefully planned and risky operation which involved scaling a 40ft ladder to reach the back windows.
They broke the windows to get in, ripped the alarm of the wall and smashed the sensors with a hammer before taking 136 handbags, many of them worth hundreds despite being second hand.
Also taken were 36 pairs of designer sunglasses and numerous belts and scarves.
The raid, at 4.30am on Sunday, was heard by an upstairs neighbour who decided not to report the disturbance to police.
Police confirmed the raid had netted the thieves a “five-figure sum”.
As well as the Hermes Vintage Classic, the property included a brand new Jimmy Choo perforated tan leather handbag which has a double gold bangle which was on sale for £700.
An Alexander McQueen knuckle design clutch purse which was on sale for £680 was taken as well as a Louis Vuitton large hobo bag worth £610, both second hand.
Similar handbags are regularly seen on the arms of celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Victoria Beckham and Catherine Zeta Jones.
Owner Shirley Burnett said she thought she was “going to have a heart attack” when she discovered her three year old business had been ransacked.
She said: “When I opened the door I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. There was just nothing left in the front of the shop. It was such a shock to see it like that.
“They got in through the back window despite the huge drop and just seemed to take everything, not checking prices, just taking.
“When they got in the store they smashed the sensors and pulled the alarm off the wall before it could go off. I’m just so thankful we’re insured.”
The 53-year-old owner said that a suspicious customer had been hanging around in the store at the weekend and may well have been checking out the security systems.
Investigators have asked the public to report these, or similar, items being offered for sale.
PC Gavin Howat said: “All of the items taken from the store are extremely expensive and those responsible may attempt to sell them on at a discounted rate.
“As such, anyone who is offered any handbags matching the description of these is asked to contact police immediately.
“Similarly, anyone who remembers seeing anything suspicious in the Howe Street area over the weekend or early on Monday morning is also asked to come forward.”